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Jodi C.
Jodi C.
Survivor

Tracey E.
Tracey E.
Survivor

Reciprocal Empowerment
Reciprocal Empowerment
Healthcare Professional

Daily Inspiration
Daily Inspiration
Stroke Survivor

Sheila H.
Sheila H.
Survivor

Tom W., III


Survivor

My husband, Tom, is a recent stroke survivor and artist. On March 17, 2005, at age 34, he suffered a severe brain‐stem stroke. Doctors told me that they did not expect him to ever walk again; they said to get used to the idea that he would be a quadriplegic. While we were very fortunate that he turned out better than initial predictions (Tom regained full use of all limbs with some permanent nerve damage), the emotional and psychological effects of the stroke have been difficult to weather. After early physical rehabilitation, Tom was able to return to his life. While he accomplished things and seemed to be well recovered in his outer appearance, he continued to suffer post‐traumatic stress and depression common to stroke survivors. He has dealt with a lot of misunderstanding from people (friends and family included) who see only an outwardly healed appearance and feel he's all better now. Tom struggled to find a way to work through his stress and come to terms with his new self.

Looking for a way to express himself, he spontaneously turned to his own art as therapy. He began the Stem/ReAssemblage series, a silkscreen and mixed media series derived from his own MRI/MRA medical images of his left vertebral artery, the brain area affected by the stroke. By taking the physiological damaged materials left over from the stroke (the dead brain cells, fissured nerve synapses) and repurposing them, his body has been able to recover. While relearning to write and regaining his fine motor skills, his artwork became a cathartic outlet to help deal with the emotional turmoil and depression resultant from such a traumatic and life‐changing experience. Though it has been a rough ride, he has worked to use this as a chance to refocus and revive ourselves after battling discouragement, suppression and other psychological hindrances both during his recovery and afterward.

 

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Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

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Faces of Stroke

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